By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
Ford's iconic pony car, the 2012 Mustang, keeps going strong. Although some may argue the 2012 Mustang's styling isn't as eye-popping as the Camaro, its performance easily matches its long-time Chevy rival and others, including the Dodge Challenger and Hyundai Genesis. With the base car's V6 engine producing 305 horsepower – more than some V8s of just a few years back – the Mustang is not only fast, it's affordable. The GT model is a V8-powered dynamo with a snarling exhaust note, available 6-speed manual transmission and ripping performance. More than just a flashback, the newest Mustang also attracts younger buyers who want the experience of a torque-heavy V8. Available in Coupe or Convertible, V6, V8, high-performance V8 (Boss 302) and screamingly fast V8 (Shelby GT500), the 2012 Ford Mustang isn't all things to all people, but it comes close.
Whether you're looking for a fun and affordable sports car to relive your youth, or a fast and furious street rod to keep you from growing old, there's a 2012 Mustang with your name on it. With 31-mpg for the V6 car and the SYNC voice-activated communications system as key selling points, the Mustang is as modern as it is retro.
Those who seek an independent rear suspension, a muted purr from the engine and styling more at home at the Opera than a NASCAR event might prefer a more subdued (and probably pricier) European sports car. While the 2012 Ford Mustang is fun for two, its rear seat is best suited to children or very limber adults.
The 2012 Mustang receives a new selectable steering setup that includes Sport, Comfort and Standard modes, and the Mustang Boss 302 limited-run model debuts touting 444 horsepower. New features available on the 2012 Ford Mustang include dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, a remote garage door opener, the Reverse Sensing System and HID headlamps.
Driving Impressions Refusing to give up its solid rear axle design, Ford has created for the 2012 Mustang an inexpensive rear suspension that performs quite well and is as comfortable in cruise...as it is quick in the corners. The driver selectable steering enhances feel, response and predictability. Add in the AdvanceTrac stability control system and powerful anti-lock disc brakes, and the 2012 Ford Mustang maintains its composure quite well in the turns, although the back end can be made to step out when too much throttle is applied – which immediately activates the stability control. The GT has a driver selectable AdvanceTrac system that includes a less restrictive Sport mode. In V6 form, the 2012 Mustang delivers up 305 horsepower and packs a punch, yet still tops the 30-mpg mark in highway driving. The heart and soul of the Mustang, however, is the 5.0-liter V8, with 412 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque and matched with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Unless you absolutely revel in the idea of having a V8, the new 3.7-liter V6 is more than enough engine, producing horsepower and torque figures that surpass the output of many previous-generation Mustang GTs!
Comprehensive Interior Upgrades
Better quality and enhanced features make it a much nicer world inside every 2012 Mustang. Highlighting the mix are a one-piece soft-touch dash and more finger-friendly controls that are further complemented by variable interior ambient lighting and, on Premium models, selectable MyColor illumination.
The 2012 Ford Mustang's interior is a great place to spend time. Traditional design elements from the first Mustang include a soft-touch one-piece dash pad, bright chrome accents and brushed aluminum trim. Highlights include a 160-mph speedometer, Ford's MyColor configurable dash that allows the driver to choose from 125 color combinations, and an 8-inch color touch-screen for the optional navigation system. Thanks to an extensive use of sound deadening material, the 2012 Mustang's interior is exceedingly quiet even with the roaring V8 engine. We like the Mustang's front seats very much, finding them both supportive yet snug enough to hold one in place during aggressive driving.
The 2012 Ford Mustang shows originality and retro. Historical elements that made the first car such a hit include the galloping pony in the grille and the staggered sequential LED rear turn indicators. But the 2012 Mustang's power-bulged hood, big wheels and steeply-raked windshield never appeared on the original model. The integrated headlamp/turn-indicator unit pays homage to the 1970 Mustang, while the big 5.0-liter badges on the GT's front fenders play up on the 1980s Mustang. A wide and deep grille insert serves as the backdrop for a more stylized galloping pony emblem as well as prominent fog lamps on GT models.
All 2012 Ford Mustangs are impressively packaged. Even the base V6 comes with air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless remote entry, AM/FM/CD stereo with AUX input, Selectable Electronic Power Steering Assist (EPAS), cruise control, Electronic Stability Control (ESC; includes anti-lock brakes), front and front-side airbags, and Ford's SOS Post-Crash Alert system. The Premium versions add leather upholstery, trim enhancements, an upgraded instrument cluster with MyColor variable lighting, Shaker 500 audio system with SYNC and SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power driver's seat, and a split-folding rear seat on coupes. The GT has a 412-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine, automatic headlamps, rear spoiler, fog lamps, a black-chrome pony grille badge, and cloth instead of synthetic material on the Convertible's power top.
Key extras for the base V6 2012 Mustang are a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Reverse Sensing System and Security Package, and a Convertible soft boot. The V6 Premium offers the base-level upgrades plus the V6 Performance Package (strut tower brace, larger anti-roll bars, 19-inch black painted wheels, recalibrated electronic stability control, performance brake pads and a 3.31:1 rear axle ratio). The GT Premium offers the California Special package (chrome billet grille, side scoops and 19-inch wheels). The GT trim offers the Brembo Brake Package, recalibrated stability program and 19-inch wheels with P255/40R19 tires. HID bi-xenon headlamps, a glass roof, back-up camera and several packages – including the Electronic (Navigation with SIRIUS, HD Radio and dual-zone auto climate control) and Comfort (leather-trimmed heated front seats and a six-way power passenger seat) – are available on Premium versions.
The base 2012 Ford Mustang is powered by an all-aluminum 3.7-liter V6 engine featuring dual overhead cams (DOHC) and Twin-Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT). The result is 305 horsepower with fuel economy comparable to some four-cylinder cars. Ford's 6-speed automatic features a "Hill Mode" function that extends gear operation on uphill climbs and provides additional engine braking upon descent; Ford does not offer a manually-selectable shift program with this transmission. Stepping up to the 5.0-liter V8 (also equipped with Ti-VCT technology) brings 412 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque; the Boss 302 has 444 horsepower and 380 lb-ft Our time in the Mustang GT produced zero-to-60-mph runs under five seconds.
3.7-liter DOHC V6
305 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 19/29 (manual), 19/31 (automatic)
5.0-liter DOHC V8
412 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
444 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm (Boss 302)
380 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm (Boss 302)
EPA city/highway fuel economy 17/26 (manual), 18/25 (automatic)
5.4-liter supercharged V8
550 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
510 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23
By koopa33 on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great retro look with todays technology."
Cons: "Not very practical interior."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this V6 3.7 Liter mustang for 4 months now and I literally take this car out to have fun. The drive factor on this car is amazing and even though it does not have V8 5.0 liter engine, it still packs quite a wallop when that gas pedal is pressed down. Overall a great muscle car with amazing gas mileage. Customization is another huge plus in this vehicle. You can give it that personal touch to make this car truly yours. Grille, side scoop and even the 3.7L logo on the side fender for the v6 model can be bought off ford website. Interior design is great, but unfortunately this is where it falls shory. Storage in door compartment is non-existant, tiny almost unusuable glove compartment. No USB port on base model V6. Exterior design in my opinion is where it excels, even before I added all the exterior cosmetics this thing is a aggresive looking car. But at the end of the day this is muscle car that is meant for 2 things, having fun on the road and turning heads and this definetly does both."
By doctor bass on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, performance, transmission and engine"
Cons: "Solid rear, clutch"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Feels heavy on road; handles better than it should. Convertible a bit wonky. Hate the clutch but love the tranny. Huge trunk for a ragtop."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Kris10 on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, fast, comfortable leather seats. 6 cd changer"
Cons: "hand washing due to soft top"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very fun and fast ride. Great for short and long travels. I'm selling because I have a new driver in the house and need a smaller less sporty car."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By name on Thursday, September 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good on gas. Handles well. Plenty of power."
Cons: "Not comfortable. TC ABS SC issues."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I could rip ford a new one but thats the service department i had to deal with. 6 month back order on a traction control issue two weeks after i bought the car, and i had to drive it while it had that issue. If theres an issue with my Traction control that affects my brakes and causes the car to pull to one side or the other randomly but is fine when i turn the traction control off there is a major issue. The part they replaced did not fix my car. i still have this issue 3 years into ownership but i just turn off the traction control and it works great. This is the only issue i have had with the car and it could easily be rectified if i had the money for an aftermarket Stability control / ABS / Traction control system. If i decide to keep the car i will do that and upgrade the brakes while i'm at it. It gets me back and fourth to work with out an issue as long as i turn off traction control every morning."
4 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Hank M on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent car. Fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This has been the best car I have owned. It has been very reliable for almost 90K miles. I cant wait to get in it each and every time I go somewhere. Fast, handles great and with the top down it is awesome. Cant wait to get a new 2015 model."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Patty S on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fast, fun, beautiful and well priced"
Cons: "for long trips, a little hard on the backside."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I owned and drove cars 3 times the price of the Pony, and I rate this car top in its class. It has plenty of power and beauty. Handling is excellent. It shifts with no trouble even when going fast and needing that extra power to pass a slower vehicle. The larger wheels give a smooth ride. It is impressive and beautiful inside and out. I bought it for summer use only, but now have need to drive in snow. The car is up to the challenge, but I am not. It has low mileage because it was garaged 5 months of the year. I would keep it if I could. Gently handled, but the Pony was given many chances to run and run; it did. If speed is your ride, this is your car. Also, it has techie gadgets I don't use."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful